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on 23 July 2012
This is the story of a young woman looking for a place to feel settled in Paris, London and then Bombay. Joseph is extremely funny and sharp-eyed, and searingly truthful. Proper writing, of the kind that gets overlooked for not banging a drum. Loved it.
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This is the story of a young woman called Leela who has finished uni and is embarking on the big wide world of work, men and relationships.

The book starts with Leela going to Paris where nothing very much happens for 74 pages. Drinks come and go, meals come and go, men come and go. *yawns*

Leela then returns to London where nothing very much happens for 75 pages. Drinks come and go, meals come and go, men come and go. *yawns again*

Leela then goes to Bombay where not very much happens for the remaining 108 pages. She sees her family for a paragraph or two. She works. She travels. It is possible that she falls in love but Leela is such a blur, we can't really be sure. *politely puts hand over mouth to hide jaw-cracking yawn*

And then Leela goes to... Am so sorry, don't know what's wrong with me, just can't keep my eyes open a moment longer. *nods off*
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on 27 December 2013
I strongly recommend Anjali Joseph's first novel, Saraswati Park. This one is disappointing. In retrospect, reading it was a waste of time. Yes, she writes nicely. But as far as this novel goes, that's it. The main character is an aimless, insecure person with no strong interests, passions, or aspirations, thinking of little but relationships with blokes, repeatedly getting stuck in relationships with men she doesn't even appear to like, and apparently incapable of doing the simplest things that might make those relationships go better. If that kind of protagonist appeals to you, read the book. If not, I wouldn't recommend it. Personally I thought the main character, Leela, was both maddening and improbable. She's a Cambridge graduate, for goodness' sake! Yet she appears to be happy to drift along for years and years in dead-end jobs, achieving nothing, and with no goals or aspirations. How likely is that, really? I'm afraid I just found her an uninteresting person.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 2 March 2013
Anjali Joseph's debut novel Saraswati Park won the Desmond Elliot Prize and the Betty Trask Prize, and the author was also named as one of 'The Daily Telegraph's' top twenty writers under forty. No pressure then for Joseph with her second novel 'Another Country' which centres on Cambridge graduate, Leela Ghosh, whom we first meet when she is living and working in Paris teaching English. Leela appears a rather self-conscious, introspective character, who drifts through her days and spends her evenings drinking, occasionally dating, and yearning for what she cannot have. When romance fails to blossom in Paris and, due to her indecisiveness, she misses the closing date to renew her teaching contract, Leela returns to London, starts working in an office, goes to parties, to the gym, and drifts into a relationship with Richard. Spending half of her time living with Richard in his apartment, Leela is confused and upset at his reluctance to tell his father of his relationship with her, and she begins to consider her weekends as "merely an opportunity to have long, unfurling arguments and dilatory sex..." But dissatisfied as she may be with Richard's lack of commitment, Leela seems to drift along in a stagnant relationship without really addressing her dissatisfaction, until something happens which forces her to act. Leela then visits relatives in Bombay and takes the opportunity to go travelling, before finding work and a place to live, hoping to settle and find some inner peace. In Bombay she tells a new friend: "I thought Bombay was some kind of lost home. I thought I'd find that missing sense of belonging here." But does Leela find her sense of belonging? Does she meet someone to share her life with? And does she make peace with herself? Obviously I have to leave that for prospective readers to discover.

This story is beautifully written - however, it must be said that when we first meet Leela, she is not the most exciting or endearing of heroines; she comes from a fairly affluent family and has had an excellent education, but she has no real sense of direction and is plagued by constant self doubt, which results in her veering between anger and passivity. Although Leela wants to travel, she finds she is never quite at home wherever she may be and this sense of not belonging gives her a feeling of disconnection and a lack of identity. So what is it that makes Anjali Joseph's latest novel an entertaining read? Well, for one thing, Joseph is a skilled and perceptive observer, and she uses this talent to infuse her scenes with colour and life and to evoke a real sense of place; we are there with Leela in the lamp-lit streets and the cafes in Paris; in London we follow her on the tube, we see her working out in the gym, and at her office desk, depressed and falling into wondering about how her life might have been if she'd stayed in Paris; in India, we walk along the beach with Leela and visit the shack restaurants where she eats kingfish cooked with butter; and we watch as Leela tries to find happiness. So, whilst this novel may have a sense of melancholy running through the story, I found Anjali Joseph's second book a beautifully observed and rather compelling read, and I found it interesting how the author focuses more on character and setting than on plot. I am now keen to look at Joseph's debut novel:Saraswati Park and I shall certainly be interested in looking out for her next fictional offering.

4 Stars.
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